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New APSU Campaign Seeks to Rename Concert Hall After Mabrys

            CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – For more than three decades, Drs. George and Sharon Mabry worked to build a nationally recognized creative arts program at Austin Peay State University. Several APSU supporters believe the duo more than succeeded, and to thank them for their efforts,  a new fundraising effort has been unveiled to rename the campus’s Music/Mass Communication Building’s Concert Hall after the Mabrys.

            CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – For more than three decades, Drs. George and Sharon Mabry worked to build a nationally recognized creative arts program at Austin Peay State University. Several APSU supporters believe the duo more than succeeded, and to thank them for their efforts,  a new fundraising effort has been unveiled to rename the campus’s Music/Mass Communication Building’s Concert Hall after the Mabrys.

            “They have carried our community’s flag to all parts of the state, all parts of the country,” Evans Harvill said. “I’m a great believer in recognizing people who have given of themselves and their talent. And I know of no one who has done more to exemplify higher education and our University than these two.”

            Harvill is one of the lead donors behind the Mabry Legacy Campaign, which seeks to raise $500,000 to rename the venue as The George and Sharon Mabry Concert Hall. Since October 2010, the campaign has already raised $150,000.

            “I’m not a music fan, I can’t carry a tune in bucket, but I do appreciate talent,” Harvill said. “They are the epitome of talent. They’ve affected so many lives. My idea has been to have that concert hall named for them because of their contributions to us.”           

            George Mabry’s newest contribution to the APSU community will be on display at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, when the musical he co-wrote with APSU emeritus professor Richard Gildrie, “Ben and the Virtues,” premiers in the MMC Concert Hall. A special dinner reception will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. that evening in the Pace Alumni Center at Emerald Hill, with proceeds benefiting the APSU Mabry Legacy Campaign. Tickets for that reception and the musical are $75 a person.

           For 33 years, George Mabry served as the APSU director of choral activities and director of the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts. He is a published composer and currently the director of the Nashville Symphony chorus, where his performances have received national recognition.

         Beginning her career at APSU in 1970, Sharon Mabry, professor of music, is known internationally as a recitalist, recording artist, writer and a master teacher of vocal techniques.

            Together, the Mabrys were instrumental in the development of the APSU music program. They’ve mentored thousands of young, talented musicians, many of whom have established successful careers in the music world.

            During George Mabry’s tenure as director of the Center of Excellence, the University opened the state-of-the-art Music/Mass Communication Building, with its 600-seat concert theater. That space quickly gained a reputation as one of the finest acoustical environments in the Southeast.

            “Visiting performing artists to Austin Peay have told me that outside of the major performing arts halls in this country, our concert hall offers the best experience for both the artists and the audience,” Chris Burawa, director of the APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, said.

            In March 2006, The Robb Report Home Entertainment Magazine named the venue as one of the top 10 “premiere concert halls” in the nation. The magazine’s article, “Superior Sights & Sounds,” placed the hall among the ranks of illustrious other venues, such as The Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, the Symphony Hall in Boston and the Los Angeles’ famed Walt Disney Concert Hall.

            “To name the concert hall after them will let them know how much we appreciate all they’ve done for us,” Harvill said.

           For more information on the Mabry Legacy Campaign, contact Chrissy Booth at the APSU Advancement Office at 931-221-7130.